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Attack Detection and Prevention Overview

Juniper Networks provides various detection and defense mechanisms at the zone and policy levels to combat exploits at all stages of their execution:

Attack detection and prevention, also known as stateful firewall, detects and prevents attacks in network traffic. An exploit can be either an information-gathering probe or an attack to compromise, disable, or harm a network or network resource. In some cases, the distinction between the two objectives of an exploit can be unclear. For example, a barrage of TCP SYN segments might be an IP address sweep with the intent of triggering responses from active hosts, or it might be a SYN flood attack with the intent of overwhelming a network so that it can no longer function properly. Furthermore, because an attacker usually precedes an attack by performing reconnaissance on the target, we can consider information-gathering efforts as a precursor to an impending attack—that is, they constitute the first stage of an attack. Thus, the term exploit encompasses both reconnaissance and attack activities, and the distinction between the two is not always clear.

  • Screen options at the zone level.

  • Firewall policies at the inter-, intra-, and super-zone policy levels (super-zone here means in global policies, where no security zones are referenced).

To secure all connection attempts, Junos OS uses a dynamic packet-filtering method known as stateful inspection. Using this method, Junos OS identifies various components in the IP packet and TCP segment headers—source and destination IP addresses, source and destination port numbers, and packet sequence numbers—and maintains the state of each TCP session and pseudo UDP session traversing the firewall. (Junos OS also modifies session states based on changing elements such as dynamic port changes or session termination.) When a responding TCP packet arrives, Junos OS compares the information reported in its header with the state of its associated session stored in the inspection table. If they match, the responding packet is allowed to pass the firewall. If the two do not match, the packet is dropped.

Junos OS screen options secure a zone by inspecting, then allowing or denying, all connection attempts that require crossing an interface bound to that zone.